Environmental concerns over plans to expand Region of Waterloo International Airport's runway
KITCHENER -- Residents have raised concerns about the environmental impact of plans to expand the runway at the Region of Waterloo International Airport.
"Is it really worth the environmental impact so someone can hop on a plane maybe one, two flights a year," Breslau resident Jennifer Tremeer said.
The expansion would directly impact wetlands and wildlife habitats.
The plan outlines an expansion of runway 14-32 at the airport, extending it from 1,200 metres to 2,100 metres. It's part of the region's 20-year master plan for the airport, which has a price tag of $375 million.
The region said it will allow for larger planes to land and give more options for air traffic.
"Right now, there are aircraft that, under certain weather conditions, have had to be rerouted to Pearson, which is quite inconvenient to the passengers who then have to be bused back to town," Coun. Tom Galloway said.
Doug Wilson with the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory worries that level of convenience will come with too high a price.
"It will cause the felling of likely 2,500 trees on our property here, which is part of this very significant wetland," Wilson said.
There are a number of endangered species in the area.
"The airport has been communicating with us in terms of doing a natural heritage management plan, but we're not convinced that will save the wet land," Wilson said.
The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada is looking for feedback on the project and accepting applications until April 18.
"I think that the impact goes beyond the airport lands and they affect the community and the bigger ecosystem and we need to consider that," Tremeer said.
The agency plans to hold Zoom meetings this week to discuss the plan. The first are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.